Just finished reading M. J. Ryan’s book This Year I Will . . . How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True. My friend Claudia is doing a breakdown of the book in HighLowAha and while her summaries and challenges are right on, I wanted to go straight to the source. So I checked it out from the library yesterday.
I did a few of the exercises Ryan suggests to get me on track with my goals this year. First, I wrote down every goal I think I wanted to accomplish in the next 20 years (supposed to be done fast and without much thought). What I discovered is that I’m a short-term thinker–I had no goals longer than 5 years! Hum. Also, weight loss hits the top of my resolution list every year BUT when I was writing down my goals, I didn’t even think about it–I only added it after I reread the list. So I think that means that while I’d love to lose the 10 pounds, it’s not as important to me as I think it is (which is why I’m not succeeding at it, according to Ryan).
So what came first on the list? Finishing “Sins of the Father”–my first novel in a series that features the sleuth Elizabeth Ryan. Of the 16 I wrote down, I was to choose the four most important that I’d posted a “1 year goal tag” on. That left me with finish my mystery novel, take long walks daily, live on a farm, and have a magical studio with windows on at least two sides.
I then made a list of things that need to occur to make these goals happen. I also decided what I need most: rest, rejuvenation, and stability in my chaotic life. I need to achieve these to help my goals happen.
Then I wrote a letter from myself from January 5, 2011. I got to say, this was the most cathartic thing I did in this process. I wrote out what I wanted to happen in the next year–all my current issues, conflicts, and problems had been solved peacefully and resolutions were acceptable. I had achieved my four main goals and felt more in control of my life. I’ve decided to re-read this letter to myself often. It makes me believe that everything will be ok. I can put some of these doubts and anxieties to rest because now I know I’ll be alright. I’ve told myself so–I’ve seen my future.
Ryan suggests that we name the year to give ourselves momentum and focus. My 2010 is now “The Year of the Mystery that launches the Career.” (ok, I had trouble limiting myself to one goal for the year to focus on–but these two are tied!)
I then followed the SMART system and made my #1 goal Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. So, I’m going to finish Sins of the Father by April 1 by writing 1,000 words a day. I can do this because I’m working from home now and can set specific writing times into my calendar. This is relevant to me because this is what I want to be when I grow up–A WRITER (ok, someone who makes their living from writing). I’m going to review my writing commitment each Friday afternoon.
Then I wrote a contract with myself and signed it so that I know that I’m serious. Will keep you all updated on my progress!